Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but with up to 100 times its potency. Some doctors might prescribe fentanyl to help relieve pain in patients who are recovering from surgery. The drug may also be used for chronic pain management in patients who have grown tolerant to other forms of opioids. However, while fentanyl can be prescribed legally, it can also be highly addictive. If you are struggling with fentanyl abuse or have been prescribed this drug after a medical procedure, it can help to know about its potentially dangerous side effects.
Why Is Fentanyl Dangerous?
Fentanyl purchased on the street can be mixed with other illegal substances like cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and methamphetamine. One reason fentanyl has become so popular is that one does not need a lot of fentanyl to achieve a high, making it a cheaper option for many. However, there is an increased risk of overdose when someone takes a drug that has been mixed with fentanyl. The inclusion of the powerful opioid and the resulting fentanyl side effects may be too much for your body to handle.
How Does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?
Like all opioids, fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain that regulate pain and control your emotions. Long-term opioid abuse can cause your brain to adjust and make it harder for you to experience feelings of pleasure from other sources. Your body’s cravings for more fentanyl can eventually consume your life.
Fentanyl’s side effects can include:
- Breathing problems
- Loss of consciousness
Taking too much fentanyl can lead to an overdose. Your breathing can slow down or even stop. That can lead to hypoxia, a condition where your brain stops receiving sufficient levels of oxygen. You could end up slipping into a coma, suffering brain damage, or dying without getting timely treatment.
Call emergency services if you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a fentanyl overdose. They may administer naloxone to counter the fentanyl side effects. Naloxone binds to your opioids and keeps the fentanyl in your system from having an effect.
Some states allow pharmacists to provide naloxone without a prescription. That makes it possible for friends and loved ones to administer naloxone treatment to someone overdosing on fentanyl. Many communities offer training on how to provide naloxone to people in emergency situations.
Can Fentanyl Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?
Many people end up with a fentanyl addiction because of its potency. People who receive a legitimate prescription for fentanyl can end up with a dependency. Signs that you may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms from fentanyl include:
- Aches and pains in the body
- Problems sleeping
- Cold flashes
- Involuntary leg movements
- Strong cravings for fentanyl
The discomfort caused by fentanyl withdrawal can make it difficult for people to stop taking the drug. Individuals with a fentanyl addiction may benefit from taking part in a detox program at a rehab facility. Westwind Recovery®’s Los Angeles facility offers detox treatment to people battling a fentanyl addiction. We help clients overcome fentanyl’s side effects and achieve recovery.
You Can Overcome an Opioid Addiction
Behavioral therapy can help you learn to break destructive patterns that often develop in people with a fentanyl addiction. Medication-assisted treatment can also help you deal with fentanyl side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone treatment can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings.
Westwind Recovery® understands the difficulty of trying to overcome a substance use disorder. We offer our clients the opportunity to participate in different programs and therapies that can help them overcome the disease of addiction.
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Inpatient drug rehab
- Outpatient drug rehab
- Sober living programs
- Substance abuse treatment